Darkrock Ventures

Resources are scarce and it is commonplace for companies to mine asteroids to acquire them. It is known that aliens raid these asteroids and therefore mining companies are geared accordingly in preparation of being attacked. Lives are lost in this line of work daily, but if you run a good crew you can make it out alive and rich!

The Gameplay:

A round begins with rolling a set of Power Dice, these are community dice that players will use in order to successfully mine the asteroid. Players then take turns placing workers throughout different space stations and on a mineral rich asteroid.

 

After all the workers have been placed a third and more volatile Power Die is rolled. A player starts his/her turn by rolling his/her Rig Dice, these represent a power element of his/her mining equipment that is to be paired with the community Power Dice in order to successfully mine resources from the asteroid. Then he/she resolves all his/her workers. As soon as players begin exporting minerals, hostile alien ships begin patrolling and will attack every round making it more difficult to resolve all the workers successfully.

Throughout the game, players will be increasing their worker count, gaining and spending credits (which are the victory points), gaining additional Rig Dice and acquiring explosive Neutronium bombs to protect them from the alien attacks.

When 3 of the 6 resource nodes on the asteroid are void of minerals the end of the game is triggered. The round is finished and the player with the most credits wins the game!

The Review:

This was one of my favorite Kickstarters I have ever backed. Magic Meeple Games was the best at keeping their backers informed about everything.

The game itself is a great intro worker placement game. Simple rules and easily understood ways to manipulate your dice make this a great game for people new to these kinds of games. I am not a big fan of dice, and they don’t seem to like me either, but with all of the ways to manipulate the dice I don’t fear the randomness of the dice.

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Sentinels of the Multiverse.

 

| 1-5 Players | 30-60 minutes | Age 8+ |

A mad scientist holds the world hostage with his terrifying inventions. An alien warlord from a faraway galaxy brings his limitless army of bizarre minions to conquer the planet. A giant rampaging robot cuts a swath of destruction across the coast, destroying major population centers. And who will stand in their way? A team of heroes, all with impressive powers and abilities stand between the world and the forces of evil. Will you help them? Answer the call to protect the multiverse!

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The gameplay:

Sentinels of the Multiverse is a cooperative, fixed-deck card game with a comic book flavor. Each player plays as one of ten heroes, against one of four villains, and the battle takes place in one of four different dynamic environments.

 

sotm_fanatic.jpgEach player, after selecting one of the heroes, plays a deck of 40 cards against the villain and environment decks, which “play themselves”, requiring the players to put the top card of the appropriate deck into play on the villain and environment turns. On each player’s turn, they may play a card from their hand, use a power printed on one of their cards in play, and draw a card from their deck. Each round starts with the villain turn, continues clockwise around the table, and then concludes with the environment turn. Each villain has various advantages, such as starting with certain cards in play, as specified by the villain character card. Play continues until the heroes reduce the villain to 0 or fewer HP, or until the villain defeats the heroes, either via a win condition or by reducing all the heroes to 0 or fewer HP.

 

The Review:

sentinels-of-the-multiverse-mini-expansion-collection-14664-p.pngYou have got to love this game, you and your friends choose heroes, who hopefully synergies, and use their powers to battle comic book style villains. This game has great strategy and awesome art. I love this game, and chanting “Sun God, Fun God, Ra ,Ra ,Ra.” Whenever someone plays the character Ra. This game isn’t the easiest to teach to newcomers to the board gaming hobby. The mechanics are simple enough but some of the powers characters wield require prior gaming experience. If you are a veteran or someone who is quick to learn this game is for you!I really do enjoy playing this game, and think that everyone should give it a try.sentinelswrath1.jpg

 

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Sheriff of Nottingham 

 | 3-5 Players | 60 minutes | Age 13+ |

Prince John is coming to Nottingham!

You and your fellow players are merchants who see this as an opportunity to make quick profits by selling your goods in the city during the Prince’s visit. However, you must first get your goods through the city gate, which is under the watch of the Sheriff of Nottingham. Should you play it safe with legal goods and make a profit, or risk it all by sneaking in illicit goods? Be mindful, though, as the Sheriff always has his eyes out for liars and tricksters and if he catches one, he very well may confiscate those goods for himself! Or perhaps, for a fee, he could be convinced to look the other way.

The Gameplay:
In Sheriff of Nottingham, players will not only be able to experience Nottingham as a merchant of the city, but each turn one player will step into the role of the Sheriff himself. Players declare goods they wish to bring into the city, goods that are secretly stored in their burlap sack. The Sheriff must then determine who gets into the city with their goods, who gets inspected, and who may have their goods confiscated!


Do you have what it takes to be seen as an honest merchant? Will you make a deal with the Sheriff to let you in? Or will you persuade the Sheriff to target another player while you quietly slip by the gate? Declare your goods, negotiate deals, and be on the lookout for the Sheriff of Nottingham!

 

Top row: Legal Goods, Bottom row: Illicit Goods

 

The Review:

So much contraband!

This is a fantastic game, I recommend bribing the sheriff with regularity, that way no one knows when you are smuggling. Heck I like to bribe the sheriff with a low or insulting offer just to get him to open my sack and pay me reparations.  I will warn you, smuggling illicit goods is not a great strategy.  I have learned from experience that illicit goods alone won’t win you the game.  Now I should say, this game is fun, but can get rowdy. I have experienced people giving exposition on why player A is lying, and why they are telling the truth.  I do recommend you role play this game.  It’s amazing how much fun it becomes at that point.

Legendary: A Marvel deck building game

A Villainous mastermind has gathered other villains and henchman to aid in his scheme. It’s time to Assemble a team of heroes, perhaps the Avengers, X-Men, the Defenders, or maybe Deadpool and his friends (if you are desperate).
The Gameplay:
Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game is set in the Marvel Comics universe. To set up the game, players choose a mastermind villain (Magneto, Loki, Dr. Doom, etc.), stack that particular villain’s attack cards underneath it, then modify the villain deck as needed based on that villain’s particular scheme. Players then choose a number of hero decks – Spider-Man, Hulk, Cyclops, Wolverine, etc. – and shuffle them together; since players use only a handful of hero decks out of the fifteen included in the base game, and the nearly hundred with expansions, the hero deck can vary widely in terms of what’s available.
Over the course of the game, players will recruit powerful hero cards to add to their deck in order to build a stronger and more resourceful deck. Players need to build both their recruitment powers (to enlist more heroes) and their fighting ability (to combat the villains who keep popping up to cause trouble). Players recruit heroes from an array of five cards, with empty slots refilled as needed. At the start of a player’s turn, he reveals a villain and adds it to the row of villains. This row has a limited number of spaces, and if it fills up, the earliest villain to arrive escapes, possibly punishing the heroes in some way. Some villains also take an action when showing up for the first time, such as kidnapping an innocent bystander. The villain deck also contains “master strike” cards, and whenever one of these shows up, the mastermind villain (controlled by the game) takes a bonus action.
As players fight and defeat villains, they collect those cards, which will be worth points at game’s end. Players can also fight the mastermind; if a player has enough fighting power, he claims one of the attack cards beneath the mastermind, which has a particular effect on the game. If all of these cards are claimed, the game ends and players tally their points to see who wins. If the mastermind completes his scheme, however – having a certain number of villains escape, for example, or imposing a certain number of wounds on the heroes – then the players all lose.
The Review:
I love the Legendary system. The weekly gaming group at my friendly local game store, Isle of Games, has this on pretty regular rotation. I have gone so far as to collect all the official expansions and house them in a wooden case with a  broken token insert and labeled divider tabs (click here for the how to article).  You will find that this is a game of synergies, one heros card effects will help with another heros.  The game designers did this with consideration of the comics continuity. So the X-Men help one another to be fight enemies.  This game can lead to analysis paralysis, as the order in which you play your cards matters.  
Future reviews will go over expansions for this game and the Legendary: Encounters line.
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Upper deck

Santorini

You are one of the young gods, and Zeus is tired of your constant bickering, he has sent you out to play and you have found the a little Greek island that looks interesting. Ares wants to smash it, while other gods want to build it in their ideal image. Help your builder rise above all the others on the island of Santorini.

Gameplay:
Santorini is a highly accessible pure strategy game that is simple enough for an elementary school classroom. But with enough gameplay depth and content for even hardcore gamers to explore, Santorini is truly a game for everyone. The rules are deceptively simple. Each turn consists of 2 steps:

  1. Move– move one of your builders into a neighboring space. You may move your Builder Pawn on the same level, step-up one level, or step down any number of levels.
  2.  Build – Then construct a building level adjacent to the builder you moved. When building on top of the third level, place a dome instead, removing that space from play.


Winning the game – If either of your builders reaches the third level, you win.
Now once you’ve gotten a hold of the basic play, you can bring in the gods…


Variable player powers – What makes Santorini truly special is its seamless integration of variable player powers into a pure-strategy game. Dr Hamilton has designed over 40 thematic god and hero powers, each fundamentally changing the way the game is played.

The review:

Santorini is a fun abstract game, the base game without powers is easy to teach, but I did find it harder to teach people who are unfamiliar with these types of games the God powers. The powers themselves are straightforward and easy enough to understand, however adding extra rules makes things harder for some who I introduced to the game.  For 99% of the world this won’t be a problem, so I recommend it whole heatedly.

 

Survive: Escape from Atlantis.

Are you one of the many Atlanteans hoping to escape your lovely islands doom? well you’re in luck, boats are standing by at the shore lines, just scramble on down hop a boat to the main land.  Just remember to avoid whales who will smash your boat to smithiens, giant squid who will sweep you off of both your boat or the island and devour you, Sharks in the water that do what man eating sharks do, oh and did I mention the oceans are crawling with sea monsters too?!  Remember it’s not all bad, there are dolphins that will help you get to land faster, and in all honesty your whole tribe doesn’t have to make it to the main land, just the most important members… assuming you can keep track of them as the land sinks, whirlpools suck in people, and monsters eat your tribesmen. And it’s not like the island will explode killing all those on it as well as at sea… oh right well good luck.. you’ll need it.

Survive is a cutthroat game where players seek to evacuate their pieces from an island that is breaking up, while remembering where their highest-valued pieces are located to maximize their score.

An island made up of 40 hex-tiles is slowly sinking into the ocean (as the tiles are removed from the board). Each player controls ten people (valued from 1 to 6) that they try and move towards the safety of the surrounding islands before the main island finally blows up. Players can either swim or use boats to travel but must avoid sea serpents, whales and sharks on their way to safety.

Survive is very similar to Escape from Atlantis with some key differences.

The Gameplay:

Players go in order, removing tiles from the island and flipping the, some leave behind sharks, others dolphins, others still give you one off powers. 

The review:

Let me preface this by saying if you do not enjoy a “take that” style game this will not be for you. the whales, Sharks, monsters, etc do not move via programing but instead are moved by the players.  You will be killing you opponents meeples.  now I really enjoy this game, I’ve played with kids and adults and everyone has the same kind of fun experience.

Kill Dr. Lucky

In this notorious game, an inversion of Clue, you hate Doctor Lucky. Maybe he left you out of his will. Maybe he killed your pet rock. Whatever the reason, you want him dead. Unfortunately, so do the other players. Since you don’t want to go to jail, you need to make your attempt in secret; if anybody can see you, whistle nonchalantly, and let the Doctor live … Until next time

The Gameplay:

You will spend your turns moving about Doctor Lucky’s mansion trying to find a corner of the house unseen by the rest of the visitors. There you will lay waiting to strike, attempting or perhaps succeeding at ending Doctor Lucky’s life. On your turn you will move about the board positioning yourself in Doctor Lucky’s pre Programed path and try to kill him. However, your opponents can thwart you by playing interruption cards. If they can save Doctor Lucky, he lives but you learn from your mistakes and become a better killer next time.

The Review:

Kill Doctor Lucky is a great game. I had the privilege of learning it from the game designer James Ernest. He ran us through an awesome play.  I will warn people that this game can be tough for some people as some of the mechanics can cause peoples turns to be skipped.  I really enjoyed it, and my gaming group had a ton of fun while playing it.  I really cannot recomend this one enough! It is a great gateway game as its mechanics are familiar enough to let people who may have never played anything beyond Monopoly or Clue get into a modern game quickly.

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